Ok, I wasn’t expecting to hear the news from FX today that X-Men Comics TV adaptation Legion was ending and my initial reaction was one of great despondency. However, knowing that it was creator Noah Hawley’s decision to end it at Season 3, as he had apparently always planned, was music to my ears. Cancellation would have been a travesty, but Hawley getting to bow out and end it his way is surely going to be spectacular.
Throughout the show, we have been following David Haller (Dan Stevens) as he came to terms with the fact that he’s not just schizophrenic, but also an incredibly powerful psychic mutant with the ability to end everyone and everything. He was our hero throughout until the last episode of Season 2, where he made the disturbing decision to alter the memories of his girlfriend Syd Barrett (Rachel Kellar), who had learned from Melanie (Jean Smart) that David had intimate relations with her future self, and that he plans to end the world. Tricking her into forgetting all this and convincing her that she still loved him, the pair have sex. This plants David firmly in bad guy territory. And so he became more like the dangerous and unstable Legion from the Marvel Comics universe. The last we see of him in Season 2, he manages to escape the trap his former friends had laid for him and escapes with Lenny Busker (Aubrey Plaza)—his best friend/sister/a parasite living in his head/figment of his imagination. Yeah, you really have to watch the show for that to make any kind of sense.
It appears that Syd will become the hero of the show’s third season, but even at this point, it is really hard to tell just who is playing on which side. Though an alternate version of David suggests that the idea of David being a good person who deserves love is itself a delusion. I think we may have to face the fact that David must be destroyed.
In an interview with EW back in June last year, Hawley said, “I wanted to evolve the show so that you realize over time that maybe David’s not the hero of your show, but maybe Syd is the hero of your show. Once you see that, it becomes a different show on some level. You’ll watch it with different eyes at that point — which doesn’t mean that David can’t come back or that in the end he doesn’t find his way back. But on some level, the whole show is a mental-illness parable, the idea that [David] tried to kill himself and he went into the hospital, and they straightened him out and they gave him his meds, and they let him out and he took his meds for a while, and then he decided he didn’t need them and then he went off them, and now he’s in this psychotic break, except he replaced the word “meds” with the word “love.” He realized he had this love story and the love was making him a better person — a saner, more stable person — and then he started lying to the woman that he loved and not being consistent. When he turned his back on the love story, everything started to fall apart for him.”
Lauren Tsai joins the cast for Season 3, playing mutant named Switch whose power is key to David’s plans.
Whatever happens next it’s going to be one hell of a crazy ride that’s for sure. With Hawley given free rein by FX to take it pretty much wherever he wants, it really could break the limits of television. I can’t lie, I am really going to miss seeing Lenny, Oliver (Jemaine Clement), Kerry (Amber Midthunder) and Cary (Bill Irwin)—characters this good don’t come around too often, but I’m so excited to see them seriously kick-ass mutant style.
While Harry Lloyd (Game of Thrones) and Stephanie Corneliussen (Mr. Robot) have just been announced as playing David’s parents, I assume that they will appear in flashbacks or through time manipulation as both are younger than David. I’m still not giving up hope that we will get a cameo from Patrick Stewart as David’s father, Professor X in present day, before the show says it’s last goodbyes.
Legion, the Final Season, will be released later this year—let’s hope we don’t have too long to find out.